The UK government will approach any Brexit negotiations with determination, energy and in a spirit of friendship. That was the message from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson today when he spoke to the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in a long-awaited phone call.

But his comments were at odds with his strategy thus far - since taking office he has refused to begin Brexit talks with the EU, including Ireland, until he gets what he wants, including abolishing the backstop.

After nearly a week of silence, the ice was broken today when Mr Johnson finally reached out to the Taoiseach.

The failure of the two leaders to speak until now has led to growing friction between Ireland and Britain and mounting concerns of a no-deal Brexit among Irish politicians.

Today's conversation came after claims that Mr Johnson had been 'snubbing' Mr Varadkar as he takes a hard line against the EU including Ireland.

The leaders discussed Brexit, the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel area.

But did the 15-minute phone call sow the seeds of friendship or do the pair remain polarised?

The latter seems to be the case with the two still firmly at odds over the infamous backstop.

Mr Varadkar told Mr Johnson that the backstop in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is needed because of decisions taken by the UK as it leaves the European Union.

But Mr Johnson has insisted that the backstop - the insurance policy to avoid a hard border - must be abolished if there is to be smooth exit from the EU.

As the UK hurtles towards a no-deal exit on 31 October the question now is who will blink first - the EU or the UK?

At a time when there is concern over Anglo-Irish relations, Mr Varadkar appeared to extend an olive branch to Mr Johnson at the end of today’s phone call inviting him to Ireland for further talks.

However, considering that Mr Johnson has said he will not sit down for talks with EU leaders unless the backstop is ditched, this is highly unlikely at this stage.

When it comes to the crunch, Boris Johnson has a decision to make in the coming weeks.

While crashing out of the EU would do damage to the EU and to British-Irish relations, the UK has the most to lose.

Perhaps Mr Johnson will reflect on the language used in today’s phone call with the Taoiseach and use "the spirit of friendship" to pave the way forward.